Even More Delays For Obamacare



The Obamacare delays keep piling up. On the same morning that President Obama gave a speech touting the benefits of his health care overhaul, and lambasting Republicans for seeking to postpone its implementation, news leaked that the administration would postpone yet another provision of the law on its own.

In yet another sign of the difficulty federal and state governments are having with the law's technical implementation, online enrollment for some of the law's small business health exchanges will be delayed, according to Politico. Both the small business exchanges and the individual exchanges were scheduled to begin enrollment next Tuesday. Small businesses will still be able to enroll via a paper form. 

It's the second significant Obamacare delay announced already today. The District of Columbia, which along with a minority of states is running its own exchange, announced this morning that it would not begin online enrollment next week as originally planned.

The reason is that the enrollment technology designed to judge eligibility for subsidies or Medicaid isn't working correctly yet. An official with the DC exchange told The Wall Street Journal that system still has a "high error rate." As a result, the exchange will still accept applicants, but they won't be informed of their eligibility for subsidies until sometime in November.

As the Journal notes, it's the third non-federal exchange to announce a delay: "Two other states that are running their own exchanges—Colorado and Oregon—have already announced delays. Colorado said this week that people who want to apply for a tax credit will have to work through the state's customer-service center for at least the month of October." Oregon's online enrollment won't open on time either.

And what about the federal exchanges that will operate in a majority of states? Reports suggest those exchanges are having technical trouble too. Last week the Journal reported that system testing began late, and they are also having trouble calculating prices for subsidized insurance in the system. 

The administration has vehemently denied reports that enrollment won't begin next week. When JP Morgan suggested last week that enrollment may not start on time, a federal health official told Politico that the "report is totally false. Open enrollment in the Health Insurance Marketplace will begin on October 1." But it's worth noting that the denial didn't claim that full-fledged online enrollment would begin as scheduled. We'll know in just a few days.  

Today's delays are the latest in a line of postponements for the health law. Key functionality in the small business exchanges was delayed earlier this year, as was the employer mandate. The administration also delayed some of the income and insurance-status verification requirements in the exchanges.

But of course it's crazy to even think of suggesting that a broader delay might be in order. 

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  1. . Colorado said this week that people who want to apply for a tax credit will have to work through the state’s customer-service center for at least the month of October.”

    It’s amazing how terrified I was of that simple statement.

    1. the state’s customer-service center

      I love it when states refer to taxpayers as “customers”.

      1. I love when they talk about letting us file paperwork to keep our own money, maybe, as if they’re doing us some kind of favor.

        1. Well, from their perspective, tax rates are the rates by which the state determines how of much of its own money the plebes are allowed to keep.

          1. Yeah, and that’s what they mean by “customer service”.

            After they “help” me, am I supposed to say, “Thank you”?

            Because I’m not grateful for getting to keep my own money. I’d be grateful if they go pluck a duck instead.

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      2. States “service” their customers the same way bulls “service” cows….

  2. If the democrats had any brains, they’d delay implementation till after the next presidential election.

    1. Democrats are saying the same thing about Republicans but in reverse. “The only reason they want to delay it instead of letting it go through is because they know it’s awesome!”

      1. It’s interesting that the Republicans are actually doing something that will disadvantage themselves politically because they actually seem to want to do the right thing.

        1. No, no. They want to be on record as being against an unpopular policy that the opposing party lost the House to pass. The fact that it happens to be the right thing in this case is totally coincidental.

      2. and barney frank on leaving the vote alluded it only the first step in the gov takeover of medicine.

        And holland has started mobile euthanasia vans was a story this week in national news

  3. It’s telling how self-destructive politics really are. It’s beyond obvious that the law is a complete mess. Even if you love the policies behind it more than life itself. And it’s also obvious it’s going to hurt an already weakened economy. Do we rush to repeal? Do we start working on a replacement law? No.

    1. You can’t delay it long enough to try to get things mildly functional. That would be admitting it isn’t perfect, and maybe some Republicans are right! It’s much better to do something flawed than to back down from previous red-line statements!

      1. It’s not something flawed. It’s a fucking disaster. What’s extra bad is that not very long ago, the Democrats would run screaming from it, due to all the problems. Instead, they and more importantly, many of their constituents, are on an extended vacation from reality.

        1. It’s not something flawed. It’s a fucking disaster.

          You and I and anyone objective would agree to that, but I was framing it from the point of view of the people who are in love with the idea of it.

          1. As my Obot friends explain it, everything about it is peachy except the parts that inconvenience them personally.

          2. They love the idea of the economy being further wrecked? Well, I guess there’s some appeal to that. Maybe if you think the Road Warrior was the feel-good movie of the summer.

            1. it was a feel good movie – until my car was smashed head-on.

              1. This may surprise you, but not everyone is a Lord of the Wastes. Post-apocalyptic living isn’t so good unless you’re in charge.

                1. Some have a gyrocopter it seems pretty good for them.

                2. I treat my tribe fairly – free guzzoline – when we can find it, women, and we have no problems with homosexuality.

                  1. Be still my dog of war. I understand your pain. We’ve all lost someone we love. But we do it my way!

    2. It’s telling how self-destructive politics really are. It’s beyond obvious that the law is a complete mess.

      Which illuminates the crystal clear point that politicians care only for power.

      They have maneuvered themselves into a position where in order to maintain power, they must do wrong by the nation. And they don’t even hesitate. That decision is a forgone conclusion.

      1 term with intervening votes of confidence. Career politicians are the lowest form of life on earth.

  4. Unfortunately,thesee delays and cock-ups are not going to be blamed on the poor design of the law or the administration’s incompetence, but instead on the Republican effort to defund it.

    1. If I were them I would take the tact that the mandates be delayed for three years except for Federal employees, no exceptions, President on down to the cloak room attendant in the Senate, to be tried on as an experimental basis before it is implemented on the American people.

      1. All laws should have to go through something like this. I bet you we would never again get crappy laws and they would repeal almost all the ones on the books.

  5. Great rant by Rand Paul here:


    Why doesn’t the president voluntarily take Obamacare? I mean, it’s his baby. He loves it so much, why doesn’t the president take it? He could voluntarily go on the exchanges. In fact, I’m sure they’d welcome him at the D.C. exchanges. I really think that ought to be a question they ought to ask him at the press briefing today. Mr. President, are you willing to take Obamacare? If you don’t want it, why are we stuck with it?

    So, if the president can’t take it, if Chief Justice Roberts doesn’t want it, here’s the thing. You want to see a rebellion? We should ask federal employees to take Obamacare. That’s what my amendment says, not just Congress. I’m willing to take it. I don’t want it. I absolutely don’t want it. And I’ve been frank about it. I’m not a hypocrite. I didn’t vote for it. I think the whole thing is a mess and I don’t want it. But the thing is if I’ve got to take it, I think the president ought to get it, get a full dose of his own medicine. I think Justice Roberts should get it. I think he contorted and twisted and found new meaning in the constitution that isn’t there. And if he wants it so much, if he thinks it’s justified and if he’s going to take that intellectual leap to justify Obamacare, he ought to get it.

    There’s millions of federal employees. They don’t want it. But guess who they vote for usually?

    1. He’s getting better.

    2. I have a constitutional amendment. I frankly think that Congress should never pass any law that they’re exempted from. I think there’s an equal protection argument for how it would be unconstitutional for us to do so, and yet we’ve done it repeatedly.

      Any constitutional scholars care to weigh in?

      1. Eh. If they are specifically exempting themselves, perhaps. If they are exempting a group that happens to only contain themselves, probably not.

        For instance, persons allowed to possess a gun in the state of Florida may carry a firearm in their car at their employer, provided it stays locked in the car, regardless of the employer’s stance on possession of a firearm. Unless the employer is a fireworks manufacturer. The only fireworks manufacturer in the state of FL when the law passed was the Mouse.

        It is probably constitutional to exempt firearms manufacturers as a class (of one), but not a single employer. Similarly it is probably legal to exempt a class (employees of the Legislative Branch) but not named individuals, or individuals who hold a specific job title in that class.

      2. Any constitutional scholars care to weigh in?

        “It’s in the Fuck You, That’s Why clause.” – B. Obama, Constitutional Law “professor”.

        1. That’s Konstipated Law Perfesser.

      3. I think the spirit of equal protection is violated, but that equal protection law is largely based on SCOTUS’s judgement that only certain forms of discrimination deserve strict judicial scrutiny. In short, FYTW.

    3. The nobility and the bureaucracy can’t be held to the same laws as the peasants! They wield the power of law! They have responsibilities that the peasants can’t begin to comprehend!

      Now shut up and pay your penaltax!

  6. As the results come in, and everything ObamaCare is coming up shit roses? No, it isn’t Obama that’s an idiot. It’s Ted Cruz who should be ashamed–for denouncing ObamaCare as the disaster it is?

    If they ever get the system up and running? the middle class will bear the brunt of it. Seeing them not be able to implement the system is actually a good thing for them.

    “The only thing that saves us from the bureaucracy is inefficiency. An efficient bureaucracy is the greatest threat to liberty.”

    —-Eugene McCarthy

    I don’t know about it being the greatest threat to liberty. A complacent electorate is a pretty big threat, too.

  7. All right, who else is waiting for the first spectacular security cockup with one of the exchanges? Maybe we could start a pool to gamble over when the first massive breach occurs.

      1. My guess was between 2 and 3 weeks. We could then set up a secondary pool to gamble over the consequences that the responsible Federal employees will suffer. Will they:

        1. Be promoted?
        2. Be shunted to a different department?
        3. Leave government service for a job at an i-bank?

        1. I’m going with 30 day suspension with pay. So they can spend the time contemplating the error of their ways.


    O: I must face the peril!

    S (restraining O): No! The peril is…too perilous!

    1. CAPTION:

      S: Look, LBJ wasn’t called “Jumbo” for nothing.

      O (Thinking): I’m not sure whether I’m intimidated or aroused.

      1. S: “I just want to grab your face and make out with you for hours.”

        O: “Hold on. Michelle jammed something up here last night, and I haven’t been able to get it out yet.”

  9. …”that system still has a “high error rate.””…

    As does the government in general.

  10. “The reason is that the enrollment technology designed to judge eligibility for subsidies or Medicaid isn’t working correctly yet.”

    Please keep it broken forever.

    1. Please keep it broken forever.

      You know, I find myself wondering if maybe this is the work of some rogue libertarian programmer who’s fucking things up on purpose. I mean, they can’t be this incompetent, can they? But then I remember this is the government we’re talking about here. Yes, they can and they are that incompetent.

  11. DC? Colorado? Oregon? Obviously these red states are purposefully trying to undercut Obamacare for their own selfish causes.

  12. I’m starting to think I’m never going to get my pony.

    1. There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Pony

      – Quote from The Exchange Is A Harsh Mistress

    2. The cake is a lie.

      1. The cake is real – it’s just been trod on by the parade of free ponies being sent to the glue facotry. Of course that’s government glue, so it won’t go on the market, just the ocean floor.

        1. Of course that’s government glue, so it won’t go on the market, just the ocean floor.

          To seal the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, right?

          1. We must stop Global Spreading! The world will look back on today and say this is when Europe stopped receding; when the Atlantic began to close.

  13. Pro, I get the feeling – as an outsider observing from afar – the majority of derps out there just don’t think there’s a problem and will be willing to accept as plausible the President’s view that there’s misinformation about the law.

    America is fucked and screwed. Seems to me it all was in Justice Roberts’ hands and he couldn’t go beyond calling it a tax. It got passed the legislative process and is the law of the land no matter how bad. From what I read, the odds of defunding it let alone repealing are long. Like the Cleveland Browns winning the Super Bowl long.

    As Spade used to say on SNL, buh-bye.

  14. I’m curious. Obamacare is supposed to allow us to move from job to job more easily since it isn’t job dependent. However it looks like it becomes state dependent so if I sign up in California and decide to move to say New York can that state at some point say we don’t have the ability to accept you in our insurers at this time and therefore you can’t move or if you do you will be out of insurance until sometime in the future when the state has an opening in its enrollment and will it become like immigration where it takes 10 years to become legal. Just wondering or am I looking to deep into this. is it really just a method to keep us in the states that we live in now. Conspiracy nut maybe.

    1. No one needs to live in more than one state.

      1. It’s to keep test subjects from leaving IL and CA and thus voting w/ their feet.

    2. You are a conspiracy nut. Travel papers, please.

  15. This part of the law is even less fair
    One final note: Immigrants who are living in the U.S. illegally do not qualify for any benefits under the health law. They will not be assessed the penalty if they do not have health insurance.

    As a young and healthy citizen where do I apply for illegal status under Obamacare?

  16. This whole thing is a disaster. Inevitably, it will lead to the collapse of the healthcare market (guaranteed issue + community rating – a coercive mandate enough mandate= premium death spiral).

    The real goal of the opposition should be to ensure that the blame is payed properly after the collapse and to prevent such a collapse to leading to the full nationalization of our health services.

  17. As I said on this last week, the new definition of success will be a web-page with an under construction gif and a phone number to talk to an operator who will direct you to a physical location where they will get you to fill out forms and tell you 90 days later whether or not you are eligible. .

  18. On the same morning that President Obama gave a speech touting the benefits of his health care overhaul, and lambasting Republicans for seeking to postpone its implementation, news leaked that the administration would postpone yet another provision of the law on its own.

    Unfortunately I happened to catch a little bit of this pathetic speech around lunchtime, and five minutes was more than enough to make me want to throw up. We’ve never had a president who comes even close to the nonstop whining that this guy engages in.

  19. news leaked that the administration would postpone yet another provision of the law on its own.

    Again, how does the administration claim the authority to do this, no matter how much we hate the new law?

    1. “When the President does it, it’s not illegal.”

      1. +1 Chocolate Nixon.

    2. You know, someone’s got to have standing to sue the administration over these flagrantly illegal and unconstitutional acts.

      1. Unfortunately, no one has standing to do so.

        1. You know what we need? Some guy who is designated as having standing to sue for any constitutional violation, regardless of how he’s personally affected. And he gets a bounty for every law suit he fields.

        2. Wouldn’t anyone who has to pay the Obamacare Medicare tax have standing? Aren’t they impacted?

      2. The administration means well. It’s not like they’re bending constitutional protocol for evil. They’re doing it to get you free healthcare. Would you complain if a libertarian president started limiting the government to enumerated powers or failed to engage in humanitarian military action around the world?

  20. In yet another sign of the difficulty federal and state governments are having with the law’s technical implementation, online enrollment for some of the law’s small business health exchanges will be delayed, according to Politico.

    Not just small business enrollment, but also Spanish language speakers

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